The Maturing of the Middleman: How to Achieve High Performance in Wholesale Distribution

Traditionally, wholesalers have mediated the interaction between manufacturers and customers, buying in bulk and selling in smaller sized lots for distribution to the customer. Thanks to technological and other innovations in distribution, however, both manufacturers and customers are increasingly able to bypass the middleman and deal directly with each other.

Confronted with the threat of disintermediation, all wholesale distributors are striving to operate at very low cost and with exceptionally efficient supply chains. But getting these basics right is just an entry ticket, the price of survival in an increasingly commoditized business. High performance in wholesale distribution requires a good deal more—starting with the kind of strategic approach that has not come naturally to middlemen.

For wholesale distributors, this white paper discusses:
  • Strategic options regarding scale, scope, and service;
  • Operational levers concerning people and pricing;
  • The primacy of process.

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